May and June are among the best months to get out there and see nature at its most delightful in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
And the number of springtime and early summer guests at the Shireburn Arms, Hurst Green's characterful 17th century coaching inn is proof of that.
Said Heidi Kettle, marketing manager for the Shireburn Arms: "We see a lot of guests coming to the Shireburn at this time of year to make the most of what's going on in the natural world."
And Heidi highlighted six spring treats not to be missed by Shireburn guests.
- See the rare hen harrier. The Forest of Bowland is a nationally important place for hen
harriers, a rare bird of prey. For a unique insight into the lives of hen harriers, head to Lancashire County Council's Bowland Visitor Centre at Beacon Fell Country Park. This is the only place in England where you can view real-time footage from a hen harrier nest, from about May to July, with volunteers on hand to answer your questions.
- Walk among bluebells. A carpet of lilac awaits discovery in the woods around Hurst Green. As bluebells go, this display is one of the best and is easily accessible from the Shireburn Arms' car park.
- Spot river birds. A meander around Hurst Green's Tolkein Trail - a 5.5 mile circular walk to follow in the footsteps of the author who was a regular visitor to nearby Stonyhurst College, the Roman Catholic independent school - takes in the banks of the rivers Ribble and Hodder. Keep an eye out and if you're lucky you might see a heron or maybe even a kingfisher.
- Other birds of prey. It's not just hen harriers which like the Forest of Bowland. Merlin, the UK's smallest bird of prey, and peregrine falcons can also be seen in the area.
- Waterfowl. Just up the road from Hurst Green is Stocks reservoir, which is an important habitat for waterfowl and wading birds as well as attracting passing migrants - osprey have been spotted here.
- Wildflower meadows. Bowland has a Coronation Meadow at Bell Sykes Farm at Slaidburn - an internationally important wildflower meadow. Early summer is the best time to visit and see flowers from cuckoo-flower to yellow rattle, red clover and meadow crane's bill. It's also possible to see the not-so-common spotted orchid or melancholy thistle at the right time of year. A self-guided walk from Slaidburn is here http:/forestofbowland.com/files/uploads/pdfs/walks/bellsykeswalk0613hires.pdf
The Shireburn Arms is celebrating spring and early summer with some special one and two-night stay deals.
Shireburn Arms is one of James' Places portfolio of hotels, inns, interior design and hospitality businesses across the Ribble Valley and Yorkshire Dales sharing the same service values and ethos.